Back in October of 2020, Hartford-based stream-ripping platform Yout named the RIAA in a firmly worded lawsuit. Now, despite previous signs of a possible settlement, the presiding judge has officially granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.
The dismissal of Yout’s complaint marks the third high-profile setback for stream-ripping services to this point in August, as Y2mate – one of today’s largest YouTube-to-MP3 converters – ceased operating in both the United States and the United Kingdom towards the month’s start. And after stepping back from its long-running legal battle with the RIAA, Russia-based FLVTO.biz followed suit by shutting down in the US and the UK.
Yout’s complaint against the RIAA centered on YouTube’s “rolling cipher” technology, which, the trade organization said in a trio of DMCA takedown requests submitted to Google, Yout had violated. “To our knowledge,” the entity maintained in each of the three takedown requests, Yout’s offered service “circumvents” the video-sharing platform’s rolling cipher, “the purpose of which is to protect copyrighted works by preventing…unlawful access to and reproduction of copyrighted works that YouTube streams,” per a filing from the RIAA.
Yout fired back by emphasizing that it was “not designed to descramble, decrypt, avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair the YouTube rolling cypher technology,” before stating that “any digital mechanism in place designed as anti-circumvention technology stops Yout users from recording and saving that protected work.”
Bearing in mind these remarks as well as the allegations outlined in the RIAA’s takedown requests, Yout said in its action that the defendant had “acted with intent and actual malice.”
Similarly, these takedown requests had caused “third parties to believe Yout engaged and continues to engage in illegal and unlawful conduct,” the plaintiff indicated, in addition to allegedly constituting a violation of Title 17, Section 512(f) of the U.S. code, which was added by the DMCA’s safe-harbor law and involves “material” misrepresentations in takedown requests.
January of 2021 saw the RIAA move to dismiss the lawsuit, characterizing as “not plausible on its face” the claim that Yout “does not avoid or bypass the rolling cipher.” Plus, regarding the aforementioned allegation that the defendant had violated the DMCA by issuing false takedown notices, the RIAA made clear that the section in question “creates a cause of action expressly limited to alleged misrepresentations regarding copyright infringement” – not circumvention.
Even if the latter was also covered, the requests weren’t made “with actual knowledge of their falsity,” per the memorandum in support of the motion to dismiss. Finally, in terms of the multifaceted case’s history, March brought with it the possibility of a settlement, but needless to say, the corresponding talks fell through.
New filings yet reveal that the presiding judge has granted the RIAA’s motion to dismiss without prejudice, and as a result, Yout has about three weeks from today to file an amended complaint. The stream-ripper, which has provided multiple social-media updates about the action against the RIAA, didn’t appear to have taken to Twitter to comment on the development at the time of this piece’s publishing.
Earlier today, the BVMI’s 2021 half-year report showed that nearly 80 percent of Germany’s recorded-music revenues derive from digital – a telling statistic as the global music industry continues to target stream-ripping services in nations around the world.